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FOCUS Wales are showcasing 2 artists from Wales in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, this October at the BreakOut West Festival! The artists selected to showcase in Canada are Wrexham’s, Baby Brave, and Snowdonia based band Worldcub. This trip has been made possible with the help of Wales Arts International and PRS Foundation who are working together to support Wales based artists to undertake international visits, aimed at the development of international work outside of the UK.

BreakOut West is the primary music industry showcase event hosted by the Western Canadian Music Alliance. Attracting music industry reps from across the globe, each year this exciting event is held in a different western Canadian region on a rotational basis. This year, the event will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon over 2nd-6th October, 2019. This four-day event is comprised of a 4-day music conference, a 3-night multi-genre music festival, the Western Canadian Music Industry Awards Brunch and the Western Canadian Music Awards Reception.

Baby Brave are an exciting indie pop outfit formed in Wrexham in 2014. Their sound has graduated with a heavier, gutsier beat that has garnered the band a solid fanbase and support slots at festivals and venues all over the UK for the likes of Bo Ningen, Stealing Sheep, and Slow Club.

Worldcub are a bilingual indie psych band hailing from Snowdonia. Their debut album was self-released at the tail end of 2016 and gained coverage on major platforms such as The Guardian and UNCUT Magazine. Worldcub’s performance at BreakOut West will also contribute to the celebration of the UNESCO year of indigenous languages taking place at the festival, where artists who perform in various indigenous languages will be present.

Both bands caught the eye of BreakOut West’s music booker during their performances at FOCUS Wales 2019. For more information on international opportunities with FOCUS Wales visit www.focuswales.com/international

Performer applications for FOCUS Wales 2020 are now open to artists worldwide via www.focuswales.com
240 acts performed at the 2019 festival, with artists traveling from across the globe from nations including Canada, Korea, France, Catalonia, USA, Estonia, Finland, Ireland and lots more playing alongside headliners including Neck Deep, Cate Le Bon, Boy Azooga, The Lovely Eggs, Snapped Ankles, BC Camplight, 9Bach, and Kero Kero Bonito. The first 50 acts for FOCUS Wales 2020 will be selected this October, so artists hoping to showcase at the festival are encouraged to submit their applications early.

FOCUS Wales 2020 takes places 7th, 8th, 9th May across various venues in Wrexham, North Wales. Full 3 day wristbands for admission to all FOCUS Wales events are available now at www.focuswales.com/tickets

Two daredevil workmates have taken “a leap of faith” in aid of a children’s hospice charity.

Nick Mayer and Molly Cadle, who work as client administrators at criminal record checks company Disclosure Services in Wrexham, both did a tandem skydive to raise money for Hope House.

They jumped out of a speeding plane 10,000 ft above the Tilstock Airfield, just outside Whitchurch in Shropshire.

Between them they raised £1,000 for Hope House which has hospices in Morda, near Oswestry, and in the Conwy Valley.

It provides care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families from Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid Wales.

Hope House is one of the three charities which the staff at Disclosure Services voted to support during 2019.

Nick, 42, who lives in Whittington, near Oswestry, explained that a representative from Hope House had visited the company to give a presentation on what they do at the hospice.

He said: “After the presentation, I got quite emotional hearing some of the stories, so it was something I thought I would like to do to raise money for a good cause.

“Doing a sky dive is on my bucket list as well, so I was also killing two birds with one stone.

“Hope House does a fantastic job and it’s a really necessary service but the sad thing is that it doesn’t get much finance from the public purse so they rely on people like us to raise money.

“They need something like £6.3 million annually to just keep going every year so it’s a big mountain to climb every year.

“There were a few butterflies before I jumped but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. The instructor was very good, a calming influence.

“After jumping out of the plane you go down headfirst the wind is buffeting you in the face. Then you sort of level out.

“When the instructor pulled the cord, it sucked us back up and then we floated down nice and gently. We could see as far as the River Dee and the River Mersey. It was pretty spectacular.”

It was also the first ever skydive for Molly,27, who lives in Ellesmere.

She said: “On the day and surprisingly I wasn’t that scared of it. I just wanted to do it. I was shocked as I was expecting to be really nervous on the day.

“Before I knew it, we shuffled up towards the edge of the plane and I had my eyes shut because I was a little bit scared of looking at that point.

“But I realised I didn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity so I opened my eyes during the free fall which I enjoyed more than when the parachute opened because it made me feel ill with motion sickness.

“It went really quickly from the parachute opening to the landing that seemed to go so fast. It was amazing just to see the world from another perspective.

“I think the best bit was that I felt fearless in the moment and I loved that because in day-to-day life I’m a bit more cautious. I just went for it and it was a personal achievement for me.

“Both Nick and I have made around £500 so it was definitely worth it for such a good cause.”

Paul Barlow, the chief executive of Disclosure Services, paid tribute to the daring duo.

He said: “I would like to salute Molly and Nick because it takes guts to jump out of a plane at 10,000 ft.

“I am proud of their effort and of the fact that they have raised £1,000 for Hope House which does a fantastic and hugely important job in helping youngsters and their families at such a difficult time in their lives.”

A lifelong fan of Wrexham AFC was in “seventh heaven” after being chosen to help officially launch his beloved team’s new away kit.

Kyle Jones, 29, works as a programmer at Ifor Williams Trailers who are the club’s main front of shirt sponsors and was thrilled to be invited to unveil the white shirt and red shorts along with four of the players.

Once again, the distinctive Ifor Williams Trailers logo is on the front of the home and away shirts.

According to the club, the partnership was a perfect fit because of the iconic trailer firm’s community spirit which matched their own ethos as a club that’s owned and run by the fans.

The company, which has factories in Cynwyd, Corwen and Deeside, has a global network of distributors as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

Kyle, who lives in Wrexham, said: “I’ve been a Wrexham fan since I can remember and I came to my first game with my dad and brother in 2000.

“It was against Bury and unfortunately we lost one nil but that didn’t put me off – they were still in the Football League then and Lee Trundle was playing for us.

“I attend every home game with friends or even alone if they’re all working and like the rest of the fans, I’ve been through quite a few ups and downs.

“I suppose the most memorable moments were winning the LDV Vans Trophy in Cardiff and the FA Trophy at Wembley.

“Supporting Wrexham is in my DNA and it’s a football mad town so I was absolutely delighted to be invited to launch the away kit.

“To work for the company that’s sponsoring the shirts is just fantastic. To be invited down today. I’m in seventh heaven.

“It fills me full of pride seeing that IWT logo on the front. It’s a great partnership.”

It was a sentiment echoed by club secretary Geraint Parry who’s been busy signing new players in readiness for the first home match against Barrow on Saturday, August 3.

He said: “I think that it’s fantastic that Ifor Williams Trailers is sponsoring us again because they are a community-based business who have lots of Wrexham fans working for them.

“Although they are based in North Wales, they also have a world-wide reach and when you go on your travels and see a trailer in front of you it’s got the famous blue logo on the back.

“This is another vote of confidence by Ifor Williams Trailers in Wrexham Football Club.

“We got into the play-offs last year so hopefully we’ll keep improving and keep progressing. This year we obviously hope to go that one step further and get ourselves back in the league. That is the holy grail for Wrexham.

“We get better support at the moment than we did in our Football League days but we are a community-owned club.”

Striker JJ Hooper, 25, is looking forward to his first season at the Racecourse after signing from Grimsby.

He said: “I think it’s a really good set up here at Wrexham. The club definitely shouldn’t be where it is in the conference. It’s definitely a massive club and the fans are amazing.

“The new away kit is lovely. My favourite colour is red so I’m happy there’s a lot of red in the kit. It’s massive for the club to have sponsors like Ifor Williams Trailers that support the club all the way.”

Right back Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, 23, is another new Dragons recruit.

“It’s not just the 11 players on the pitch that help the team go up. It’s the fans, it’s the sponsors, it’s the staff and everyone else as well – so having good sponsors and us wearing the shirt with pride is a big thing.“

Richard Hughes, the Human Resources Manager Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “We have many die-hard Wrexham AFC fans among our staff at Ifor Williams trailers, including season ticket holders and Wrexham Supporters’ Trust members.

“Wrexham AFC has a brilliant track record for youth sport with the boys and girls’ teams, and also for disabled football, which is another reason we are proud to partner the club again this year.

“The women’s team gained promotion last season and we’re keeping our fingers crossed the men can follow suit this time.”

A 40-day fiesta of food-filled experiences will this autumn celebrate the fantastic range of produce from the north east corner of Wales.

Taste North East Wales will run through September, October and into November with 30 events showcasing ways for visitors and local residents to savour the region’s rich culinary tradition.

So if tastes run to black-tie catered rafting on the River Dee at Llangollen, afternoon tea in a prime ministerial library at Hawarden in Flintshire or a costumed medieval feast at Wrexham museum they and many others can be catered for.

The programme is backed by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd along with the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB and the Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham local authorities.

The money is from a pot of almost £8 million of funding administered by Corwen-based Cadwyn Clwyd from the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. It is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government as part of a six-year plan to revitalise rural communities and their economies.

Taste North East Wales is being supported by Cadwyn Clwyd for its first two years but is then intended to become an annual and self-sustaining event which will include dining experiences, production tours, demonstrations, tastings, workshops and masterclasses and also incorporate the established food festivals at Llangollen, Mold and Wrexham.

Emma Cornes, Co-ordinator of Taste North East Wales, said: “What we are doing is showcasing this whole area through the medium of its fabulous food.

“We have put together a programme of unique food-based experiences and we want as many people as possible to explore, experience and eat the best of what North East Wales has to offer.

“If you want to go rafting, work in a community garden, attend a medieval banquet, visit an egg farm or go foraging you can do it and experience the unique flavours of the area through each opportunity.”

Pip Gale, of Gales Wine Bar in Llangollen, is part of the Ravenous Rafting experience which will include canapes made from locally sourced ingredients ahead of a white-water trip down the River Dee followed by Sunday lunch at Gales, again profiling key local ingredients.

He said: “We live in an amazing place with amazing food and we are now working together to put North East Wales on the food map.

“The produce from this area is particularly good. Everyone knows the lamb is fantastic but we have so many other food producers making lots of lovely products that deserve to be better known, from craft beers and ciders to chocolate, honey and ice cream.”

Cadwyn Clwyd Business Partnerships Officer Donna Hughes said: “Taste North East Wales have really come up with a wonderful range of activities that brilliantly combine our wonderful landscape and heritage with the food that this region produces.

“These amazing tastes deserve to be better known more widely and we believe that this project will do that by making people, both locals and visitors, appreciate what the area has to offer.”

To date Cadwyn Clwyd has allocated over £5 million on LEADER projects across Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham and liaising with Local Action Groups who have had the final say on funding.

For more information about Cadwyn Clwyd contact them on 01490 340500, email: admin@cadwynclwyd.co.uk or go to www.cadwynclwyd.co.uk/

For more on Taste North East Wales go to www.tastenortheastwales.org

A sample of performers at this year’s International Eisteddfod

Acclaimed musician and presenter Jools Holland OBE will open the International Eisteddfod next month.

The UK’s most popular pianist and former Squeeze band member will return to Llangollen and is set to wow audiences at the Royal Pavilion with his legendary Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

The jazz, blues and swing show-stopper will launch the 2019 concert series with an extravaganza of live music on Monday, July 1.

Holland will join a line-up of top musical talent, including indie chart-toppers The Fratellis, The Coral and the Pigeon Detectives .

The former Squeeze musician is best known today for his Later… with Jools Holland show and has featured artists from a variety of countries and genres throughout the years, as Vice President of the Eisteddfod, he is a familiar face at the popular event.

His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra consists of pianist, organist, drummer, three female vocals, guitar, bass guitar, two tenor saxophones, two alto saxophones, baritone saxophone, three trumpets, and three trombones.

Full evening concert line-up 2019

Monday, July 1 – Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra
Returning festival favourite and Vice President of the Eisteddfod, Jools Holland, will entertain the Royal Pavilion audience with his legendary Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. The jazz, blues and swing showstopper will launch the 2019 concert series with an unforgettable toe-tapping extravaganza of live music.

Tuesday, July 2 – Classical Gala with Rolando Villazón and guests
One of the music world’s most critically acclaimed tenors, Rolando Villazón will debut his phenomenal voice on the Llangollen stage. Villazón, who is known for his uniquely compelling performances with leading opera houses around the world, will be joined by the magnificent Welsh lyric soprano Rhian Lois for a spectacular evening of operatic greats.

Wednesday, July 3 – Saints and Singers: The Music of Wales
Wales has a world-wide reputation for its choral music, and Wednesday’s evening performance will showcase the Land of Song at its very best, with supreme Welsh vocalists Shân Cothi and Rhodri Prys Jones, accompanied by the British Sinfonietta Orchestra.

Thursday, July 4 – International Celebration with Jamie Smith’s MABON
International competitors from all over the world will come together in a vibrant carnival of cultures to showcase the very best from across the globe, as they weave through the audience with their giant flags in a vivacious display of international unity and friendship.

Friday, July 5 – Gipsy Kings featuring Andre Reyes

Hailing from the south of France, the group will bring their energetic set with infectious Latin rhythms to Llangollen for the very first time. Their music is warm, exuberant and hugely popular with trademark hits such as Bamboleo and Volare.

Saturday, July 6 – Choir of the World
In a live televised concert, the festival’s competitions will reach their exciting climax on Saturday, with the finest choirs from across the globe battling for the highly sought after Choir of the World 2019 title and the prestigious Pavarotti Trophy.

Sunday, July 7 – Llanfest 2019
Scottish indie rockers The Fratellis, best known for their worldwide smash Chelsea Dagger, Mistress Mabel and Whistle for the Choir, will headline Llanfest alongside Merseyside music legends The Coral, with their chart-topping tracks Dreaming of You, Pass it On and In the Morning.

Joining the high energy line-up will be Leeds-based indie icons The Pigeon Detectives, with the likes of This is an Emergency, Take Her Back and I Found Out, as well as pop rock trio Dodgy, with nostalgic nineties hits Staying out for the Summer and Good Enough to open the main stage headliners.

 

Music Director of the festival, Edward-Rhys Harry, said: “We are proud that this year’s festival line-up spans genres and generations, crossing the boundaries of age, culture and creed.
Tickets are available online at www.llangollen.net .

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is an annual festival of music, dance and culture, which includes competitions showcasing choirs and dance troupes from across the globe.

Each year it attracts approximately 4,000 performers and as many as 50,000 visitors across the duration of event.

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Dydd Iau / Thursday

9am - Breakfast

11am - Empowerment Hour

12pm - The Business Community

3pm - Mindful Musings

4.30pm - One For The Road

7pm - Alex Gaming Review

 

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